Seven Top Reasons to Attend Interfaith Exploration Week!

Hendricks Chapel is celebrating religious and spiritual diversity and inclusion through Interfaith Exploration Week. All students, faculty, and staff are invited to participate in a series of gatherings that provide a safe space to learn about diverse religious and spiritual traditions, rediscover familiar traditions, and build relationships and understanding across barriers. Hosted by the Chaplains of Hendricks Chapel, participants can attend Jumuah prayer, a Buddhist meditation, Catholic Mass, Shabbat dinner, and more. The week will kick off with a special Interfaith Dinner & Conversation on Wednesday, Feb. 1st from 4:30-6:00 pm. For the full schedule and details, visit our website.

Here are the top seven reasons you may want to explore:

  1. Learn about other faith communities. You may have a Jewish friend who you met in the residence hall, but you don’t know a great deal about Judaism. Interfaith Exploration Week is a ideal time to learn about your friends and their beliefs.
  2. Deepen your sense of religious and spiritual diversity. If you have been raised in a particular faith community, attending university may be the first time you’ve met Buddhists, Muslims, Baptists, etc. One of the best ways to create understanding is to observe another’s practice.
  3. Find your own community of faith. Leaving home also means leaving your home place of worship. Finding a faith community at school can offer a home away from home. Additionally, you may find yourself ready to create new opportunities as you expand your center of understanding.
  4. Have Fun! It’s just fun to be with new people in new places!
  5. Meet the chaplains. Did you know that our chaplains are confidential resources? If you are in crisis or just need someone to talk to, you can meet with any of our chaplains. Each chaplain is here to support our entire student body, regardless of your spiritual, religious, or non-religious practice.
  6. Make friends! In these programs, you will meet new people. Perhaps you’ve seen them in your residence hall or in class but have never had a chance to connect. Now you’ll have an experience in common!
  7. Hendricks Chapel is a “home for all faiths and a place all people. With nine chaplaincies and more than 25 student and religious groups, Hendricks Chapel celebrates and observes many traditions. At Interfaith Exploration Week events, you can ask questions, learn, and experience concepts new to you!


“Interfaith Exploration Week is an opportunity to create and sustain curiosity, understanding and expression,” said Brian Konkol, dean of Hendricks Chapel. “We hope that all participants can learn about others, and also learn about themselves, all in service to our common good.”

Interfaith Exploration Week is organized by the Student Assembly of Interfaith Leaders (SAIL), chaplains, religious and spiritual life group advisors, and the staff of Hendricks Chapel.

For the full schedule and details, visit our website or call us at 315.443.2901 or email





Hendricks Chapel Welcomes Assistant Muslim Chaplain Imam Dzemal Crnkić

Hendricks Chapel recently welcomed Imam Dzemal Crnkić as assistant Muslim chaplain. Imam Crnkić will assist Chaplain Amir Durić to further advance academic excellence in a university welcoming to all.

Photo of Dzemal Crnkic

Dean Brian Konkol says, “As the Muslim Chaplaincy continues to experience significant growth in student engagement, I am overjoyed to welcome Imam Dzemal Crnkić to our Syracuse University campus community, as he and Imam Amir Durić will build a dynamic collaboration to ensure Hendricks Chapel is leading in service to our common good.”

Dzemal recently moved to Syracuse from Pennsylvania, where he served as imam for the Bosnia & Herzegovina Islamic Center of Pennsylvania. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Alvernia University (Reading, Pennsylvania) studying leadership, with a focus on leadership challenges among immigrant communities.

In addition to his demonstrated commitment to Muslim students, faculty and staff, Imam Crnkić is also dedicated to building multifaith relationships and community-wide interfaith programs.

“I am thrilled that Imam Dzemal accepted our invitation to join the Muslim Chaplaincy team,” says Imam Durić. “His leadership skills, creativity and enthusiasm will enhance the scope of our programming, and assist the chaplaincy in creating additional outreach and engagement opportunities for our students. It is my great honor to welcome him to the Orange family.”

From Afghanistan to Syracuse University: A Student’s Journey to Find Balance

By Dara Harper

Abdul Bashir Pazhwak of Afghanistan, currently a Ph.D. student at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, completed his Ph.D. application entirely on his iPhone while living in a German refugee camp.

On Aug. 15, 2021, Abdul Bashir Pazhwak, an Afghan diplomat, nervously sat in his office at the Afghan embassy in Cairo, Egypt. He watched on television, as so many did, the fall of the western-backed Afghan government led by President Ashraf Ghani. Pazhwak, who had been in the Afghan Foreign Service since 2008, knew that he could not work for the Taliban. He packed up a few things and catapulted himself across the Mediterranean Sea to land in a German refugee camp.

Pazhwak grew up in Northern Afghanistan and attended a Turkish school in his younger years before receiving a degree in Law and Political Science at Balkh University. Just after graduating, he entered the foreign service and trained in several countries including Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria, and more.

His first post in 2013 was as a diplomat to the Afghan embassy in Seoul, South Korea. While there, he received his master’s in business administration at Sejong University. Sejong has a longstanding partnership with the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, which led to Pazhwak meeting Dr. Ted Wallin.

Dr. Wallin is a professor emeritus who led the Franklin and Salzberg Supply Chain Management program at Whitman for 27 years. When Pazhwak met him, Wallin was professor and co-dean in the School of Business at Sejong University. Dr. Wallin and Pazhwak were fast friends and kept in touch when Pazhwak returned to Afghanistan in 2016.

While living and working at the foreign service in Afghanistan, Pazhwak wanted to serve young people and began teaching in local universities. He authored a book titled “Intellectual Revolution: Solutions to the Youth Social Problems” that was published in 2018. After a few years, he was posted as a diplomat in Cairo. He believed, along with many others, that he would never see the Taliban return to power in his homeland. When he saw the reports of people flocking to the airport attempting to escape, he believed he had witnessed the fate of Afghanistan. He then left his post to flee to Germany.

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency by the end of 2021, there were 3.5 million internally displaced Afghans, 2.7 million were forced across borders and lived as refugees across 98 different countries.

Pazhwak resided in a German refugee camp for a total of eight months, having never thought that, as a highly educated diplomat from an upper middle-class family, he could ever end up in such a position. As he considered his next steps and hoped for asylum, he received an important phone call: the first person to check on him and his well-being was none other than Professor Wallin, calling from Syracuse.

Dr. Wallin listened to Pazhwak’s situation and immediately hatched a plan to bring him to Syracuse. He helped Pazhwak find the information needed to apply for an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in the Social Science department of Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Wallin checked in with his university connections at Hendricks Chapel and several Syracuse University schools and colleagues and they began a fundraising campaign to bring Pazhwak to the United States.

All Pazhwak had to do was be accepted into the Ph.D. program, which is a difficult task on its own, but living in a refugee camp and applying for school had numerous additional complications. There were no computers, no quiet spaces, no libraries. Pazhwak worked from 6 PM to 3 AM for weeks on the application. He completed the entire application on his iPhone.

Pazhwak arrived in Syracuse just before the beginning of the fall 2022 semester; and almost one year from when the Taliban overthrew the government. He is grateful to Professor Wallin and others who worked tirelessly to get him to Syracuse University.

At the same time, his own country is still in a state of disarray. After many years of women enjoying the freedom to attend school and work outside of the home, the Taliban have rescinded their early promises in 2021 to allow women’s freedoms to continue. According to an article in Al Jazeera dated Dec. 22, 2022, women have been barred from their university classes, secondary schools, parks, and gyms. Women are no longer allowed to travel between cities without a male escort and must be fully covered in public.

Pazhwak hopes to use his doctoral education focused on conflict resolution, peacebuilding, negotiation, and international migration to help restore balance both for his country and himself.

Syracuse University to Present Art Exhibit at The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

Syracuse University’s 38th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration will include, for the first time, an art exhibit in the Club 44 VIP lounge on the upper level of the JMA Wireless Dome.

To express the celebration theme of “Civil Rights and the City of Syracuse,” three local artists were selected to show their works in the specially constructed gallery, which will be open to the public on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, before and during the traditional celebration dinner. The art gallery will open at 4:15 p.m. and the dinner will begin at 5 p.m. For more information, visit

The exhibition will spotlight artists Jaleel Campbell, Jessica McGhee ’19 and Vanessa Johnson. Curators for the exhibition include Qiana Williams and Cjala Surratt of the Black Artists’ Collective; Ken Harper, associate professor of visual communications and art curator in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications; and Hendricks Chapel staff.


Jaleel Campbell’s passion for creating knows no bounds. Whether it be through illustration work that showcases the often underrepresented, video work that captures the beauty and essence of Black life and culture, or handmade dolls that aim to honor and acknowledge African traditions, there is no limit to his creativity. “I create work that reminds Black people of their worth; even when the world becomes too heavy,” he says.

Jessica McGhee, originally from Los Angeles, California, moved to Syracuse in 2008. She earned her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Syracuse University in 2019 and is currently enrolled in the University’s Creative Arts Therapy M.S. program. Her primary medium is painting, though she works in a variety of media. McGhee works therapeutically and believes strongly in art’s nonverbal ability to communicate, heal and transform the self in ways that impact the overall well-being of its creator. She is currently the arts programming coordinator and an instructor at the University’s La Casita Cultural Center.

Vanessa Johnson is a griot (storyteller) in the West African tradition. She is also a writer, playwright, actor, fiber artist, museum consultant, community activist, historian, educator. and teaching artist. Johnson received the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Creatives Rebuild NY Grant for 2022-24. At Onondaga Historical Association, Johnson used her storytelling talents to tell the history of Onondaga County and she has been teaching in school programs since 2005. Presently, Johnson teaches at Syracuse University’s Community Folk Art Center and is the artist-in-residence for the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation

“We are excited for this year’s participants to celebrate the richness of Syracuse’s culture and beauty…and there’s no juicier way to do that than through art,“ says Harper, who has been on the MLK Event Planning Committee for the past three years. “We hope to expand the gallery next year to include collaborations with additional local artists, the Community Folk Art Center and the Syracuse University Art Museums.”

Tickets for the dinner and program, which will include student and community group performances, presentation of the Unsung Hero Awards and a keynote address from the Rev. Phil Turner, are now available.

“Lexical Priming” by Jessica McGhee
By Jaleel Campbell
“Hye Won Hye” by Vanessa Johnson

Syracuse University Student Malique Lewis Featured on Inspiration For The Nation To Promote MLK Celebration

The 38th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration will be held on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023.

Happy New Year from Inspiration for the Nation! This week’s guest is Malique Lewis: the student co-chair of the Syracuse University Martin Luther King Jr. Committee and co-founder of the Black Student Union on campus. Watch now to hear him speak on why he believes the King dinner and legacy can build community.

Home Page:

Additional Events:

Buy Tickets:

SU News Story:… 

Rev. Phil Turner to Highlight Local Community as Speaker for 38th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

Reverend Phil Turner of Bethany Baptist Church in Syracuse will serve as featured speaker at the 38th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, in the JMA Wireless Dome at Syracuse University.

This year’s theme is: “Civil Rights and the City of Syracuse.” Tickets for the dinner and program are now available.

portrait of Reverend Phil Turner in Hendricks Chapel

Reverend Phil Turner (Photo by Amelia Beamish)

This annual event is the largest of its kind on any college campus. The program seeks to honor the message and mission of Dr. King and is a direct expression of Syracuse University’s commitment to advancing academic excellence at a university welcoming to all.

“As we prepare for our first in-person MLK Celebration since 2020, our planning team is committed to highlighting the people and possibilities of our local community,” says the Rev. Brian Konkol, dean of Hendricks Chapel. “I am honored to welcome Pastor Phil Turner as our featured speaker, as he embodies the spirit and soul of Syracuse. Through his proven leadership and hopeful vision, Pastor Turner is the right person to bring us all together.”

Turner was elected as the 12th pastor of Bethany Baptist Church on Feb. 19, 2007. Following his formal installation in April of 2007, he helped expand congregational impact through membership growth, facility renovations, increased access to transportation services, and improved engagement with civic organizations and community organizers. Turner led the development of a radio ministry, tutoring program and an annual festival that highlights African American heritage. Bethany Baptist Church also partners with the Syracuse City School District, sponsors clothing giveaways, and hosts numerous local and regional events.

In addition to earning music recording contracts with Warner Bros. and 4th and Broadway, Turner holds a bachelor of science in history and political science from Columbia College, a master of theological studies from Northeastern Seminary and a certificate in church management from Villanova University.

“When Dr. King spoke, his words were so piercing because they came from truth, his inner light and compassion,” says Rev. Turner. “We must accept the challenge to make everyone’s lives better. Leaders need to have a healthy appetite for change. They can’t be afraid.”

Our 2023 program marks the 38th year for the MLK Celebration, which will include an address from Turner, student and community group performances, a presentation of this year’s Unsung Hero Awards, and recognition of the 2022 and 2021 Unsung Hero Awardees previously honored through online celebrations.

New this year is an art gallery featuring works from local Black artists,  opening at 4:15 p.m. The traditional dinner—pulled BBQ pork, collard greens, sweet potato pie and more—will open at 5 p.m. Halal/Kosher, gluten-free and vegetarian options will be available. Dinner will be held near the JMA Dome’s west end zone, entry at Gate A. The main program with Rev. Turner and performers will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the east side. For program-only attendees, doors open at 6 p.m.

Ticket purchase options are as follows:

  • Syracuse University staff, faculty, and the general public (dinner and program): $30
  • Students (dinner and program): $15
  • Main program only: FREE

Registration is required for all ticket purchase options.

All dinner tickets will be assigned a table number at the time of purchase, which will be included in the mobile tickets. Guests interested in sitting with friends are recommended to purchase tickets together to ensure the same table assignment.

Guests may order up to 10 dinner and program tickets online. To purchase one full table (10 seats), select 10 total tickets and proceed to checkout. To purchase more than one table or more than 10 individual tickets, or if experiencing difficulties, please call the JMA Dome Box Office at 1.888.DOME.TIX (315.443.2121), option four.

All dinner guests will be seated in the 100 level of the stands for the program following dinner. All guests attending the program only will be seated in the 200 level. Seating is general admission in those areas for the program.

Buy tickets online at, in person at the Dome Box Office inside Gate B at 900 Irving Ave. (Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or by phone (888.DOME.TIX or 315.443.2121, option four). Tickets will be mobile this year and uploaded directly to your MyCuse account to manage upon purchase. View the step-by-step guide on mobile ticketing for more information.

Free parking is available in the Irving Avenue Garage and in lots west of the JMA Dome. Visit the University’s Parking and Transit Services website for maps and directions. American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be available for the event. Accessible seating is provided on the concourse level of the JMA Dome.

For more information about the MLK Celebration or to request accommodations, contact Hendricks Chapel at or 315.443.2901. Learn more about this and other Hendricks Chapel events by visiting

Hendricks Chapel to Host Festive ‘Horns and Harmonies’ Concert Dec. 18

Syracuse University is ringing in the holidays with its third “Horns and Harmonies” concert on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in historic Hendricks Chapel.

Free and open to the public, the all-ages show features songs, carols and instrumental classics performed by the Syracuse University Brass Ensemble (SUBE) and the Spirit of Syracuse (SOS) Chorus, led by artistic director James T. Spencer and master director Kay Crawford, respectively.

Both groups are joined by emcee Bruce Paulsen, an on-air host for WCNY-FM; Harmonic Collective, an award-winning men’s a cappella chorus; and pianist Jon Bergman.

Attendees are invited to bring food or personal care items as a donation for the Hendricks Chapel Food Pantry. For more information, contact Hendricks Chapel at or 315.443.2901.

Visit SU News to read more!

Music of Olivier Messiaen – Malmgren Concert

Musical performances, much like spiritual moments, can spark deep emotions and colorful contemplations. When paired together, these experiences can feel larger than life itself. On Sunday, Oct. 23, at 4 p.m., soprano Kathleen Roland-Silverstein and pianist Dan Sato present the “Music of Olivier Messiaen” as part of the Hendricks Chapel’s Malmgren concert series.

Roland-Silverstein and Sato, both Setnor School of Music faculty members, pored over a year’s worth of preparation into this program of what they like to call “Messiaen’s greatest hits.”

“This concert might be a first for many to experience his music. It’s a kind of music that’s very intoxicating, like a really strong psychedelic,” says Sato.

French composer and organist Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) is best known for his harmonically rich and complex work that pushed boundaries in 20th-century music. A devout Catholic, his spirituality and fascination with nature were at the center of nearly everything he did.

To introduce Messiaen’s soundscape, the Hendricks Chapel Choir, directed by José “Peppie” Calvar, will gently open the concert with the sacred motet “O sacrum convivium.” This choral piece, composed in 1937, is one of his earlier works that offers a meditation on spiritual communion with the divine.

For Messiaen, music was not just an acoustic experience but a visual one. His synesthesia, a condition that links one’s senses, made him associate sound with color and vice-versa. Music notes were like ribbons, and chords became rainbows. With this imagery, he found ways to intertwine it with musical and spiritual concepts from other cultures.

In the piece, “Harawi: Chant d’amour et de mort,” Sato and Roland-Silverstein explore an ancient Peruvian story of a love ending in death. Messiaen composed in French and Quechua, an indigenous language spoken in the Peruvian Andes. “He also just used onomatopoeic sounds. One of the songs is called ‘Dondou tchil,’ which is supposed to represent the ankle bracelets that were worn by the Peruvians,” Roland-Silverstein remarked.

Messiaen’s cosmic scenes are almost supernatural, Sato added. “The scope of time and resonance offers a glimpse or a snapshot of what eternity feels like. [His music] demands so much more than we can provide, even just from the piano or from the human voice.”

Still, the challenge is worth taking. Sato plans to perform selections from Messiaen’s “Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jésus,” one of the most demanding and impressive works in the entire piano repertoire. Messiaen drew inspiration from birdsongs, Indian classical music and most importantly, his faith as he contemplated the infant Jesus.

“It goes from a lullaby into this really grand galactic explosion of dissonance. It feels almost uncomfortable and nightmarish, but that is that extremism of expression,” Sato says. “You’re just kind of left in a daze.”

After giving themselves the luxury of time to absorb Messiaen’s music, Sato and Roland-Silverstein say this concert will be a great opportunity to share the experience with the community. Anticipating a most memorable musical encounter, Roland-Silverstein says, “I hope people feel transported.”

The Malmgren concert is free and open to the public. Complimentary parking is available in the Quad Lot and Irving Garage. For more information, visit

Story by Piper Starnes, graduate student in the Goldring Arts Journalism and Communications program in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications